Dodgeball Rules | How to Play Dodgeball

Dodgeball game always brings laughter and joy to the faces of both; the players and the spectators. In this game, you see the players rushing, throwing, and catching the ball, diving, ducking, and jumping to eliminate opposing players.

To make you fully learn this game, we have brought an all-inclusive guide for beginner and advanced level players.

This simple-cum-detailed guide covers Dodgeball’s brief history, equipment, complete rules, step-by-step guide on how to play dodgeball, scoring systems & rules for faults, substitutions & revival.

Additionally, we have talked about the top ten skills & related questions & queries about dodgeball rules.

Dodge Ball Rules | Types, Scoring System, Substitution, Fouls & Penalties, Playing Techniques | How to Play Guide


Dodgeball is a sport that entertains two teams of at least 6 players. This game is full of thrill, immense fun, and heartfelt laughter due to its highly entertaining playing nature.

Dodgeball is all about throwing the rubber or foamed balls towards opponents to hit them, catching the balls of opponents that they throw at opposing players, and saving oneself from being touched by the oncoming balls of opponents.

This game relies on the elimination and revival of the players as Kabaddi.

However, it does not depend on touching your opponents with bare hands as done in Kabaddi, rather, it uses balls to meet this object.

Dodgeball Rules, How to play dodgeball

A player has to go out of the court when he is hit by the ball of his opponent, when the ball that he throws to his opponent is caught by the opponent, or when he commits any mistake that is subjected to a penalty.

When a team manages to send all the opposing players out of the court, it becomes the winner of the match.

The game has been played for many years by a great number of players around the world. However, this game got a boost and immense fame after 2004, when a Hollywood comedy film of the same name, “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”, was made. This film stars Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn.

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Rules of Dodgeball Game

The rules of Dodgeball are fairly simple to comprehend. Even a child of sensible age can learn and adapt to them in a short period of time. They start with team composition and end with the fouls and penalties.

Let’s have a thorough look at the detailed rules of this game.

1. Team Composition

In Dodgeball, two teams compete against each other. Each team has 6 to 10 players. However, only 6 players are permitted to participate in the match, and the remaining players have to sit outside as substitutes.

The substitute can enter the court only if any of the teammates get injured or feels sick.

As per the rules of the game, each team has to include 2 female players on their side. It means each team has four male players and 2 female players.

2. Court Dimensions

The court of dodgeball has varying sizes. There is no specific measurement to follow while setting up a dodgeball court. But, it’s obvious that all the court’s dodgeball is rectangular in shape.

However, the recommended size of the court is 60 feet in length and 30 feet in width.

The court has two side lines (60 ft each), two end lines (30 ft each), two attack lines ( each line drawn 10 ft away from the center line), and one center line that divides the court into two equal halves.

So, each half of the court comes under the control of each team.

The attacking lines and center lines are of vital importance. A team can stand in its attacking area and throw the balls to opponents.

While the center line is used for placing all the six balls before the game starts. Each team has to put its three balls on different sides of the court.

For example, if team A puts its balls on the right side of the court, team B has to put its ball on the left side of the court. In addition to placing the balls, this line is not crossable.

However, a player can cross this line only at the time of picking the balls from the center line, but as soon as all the balls have been picked, no player can cross this line.

The Dodgeball is also played on a basketball court, excluding the goal posts, or even on a volleyball court, excluding the net.

This court is surrounded by walls and has different circles on it. It has similar lines as mentioned above.

These lines include sidelines, end lines, and center lines but not attacking lines. One thing that is not found on the above-mentioned court is a 5 ft neutral zone on each side of the center line.

Players from both teams use these zones to throw and retrieve the balls.

3. Duration of the Game

A Dodgeball game lasts for 10 minutes. Each match consists of 9 games. Thus, the winner has to win 5 out of 9 games.

To win the game, a team has to eliminate the players of its rival team in as much as 10 minutes.

Each team avails itself of a time-out of one minute (60 seconds). Both the teams can substitute their players during a time-out.

4. Starting of Match

The game of Dodgeball starts with the referee’s count of three or his whistle. 6 players from each team stand on their respective sides of the court, near the end line, and wait for the referee’s signal.

As soon as the referee finishes counting, the players from both teams rush to pick up their balls that are placed on the center line.

The players have to pick their own balls. They cannot pick the balls of the opposing team.

After collecting the balls, players can either throw them to their opponents to eliminate them or pass them to their teammates.

Note: There are only three balls for a team of 6 players. Therefore, three players may go for collecting the balls, and the other three may stand at their positions to catch their opponents ball if they (opponents) attempt to throw at them.

5. How to Play Dodgeball? Step by Step Guide

Let’s learn how to play the game in one of the easiest ways.

Step 1:

Select 2 teams of 6 players. Each team must have four male players and 2 female players.

Step 2:

Find a playing surface. It should be rectangular with 60 ft in length and 30 ft in width. You can choose a basketball or volleyball court.

Step 3:

Select 6 balls of two different colors. Each team has to choose 3 balls of the same color. If team A picks yellow colored balls, team B has to pick the balls with the other available color.

Step 4:

Place 6 balls of two different colors on the center line. Put three balls, of the same color, on one side of the court, and the other three balls, of another color, on the other side of the court.

Step 5:

Each team should take one side of the court. Team A should stand at one end of the court, just behind the end line, and team B has to stand on the other end of the court, behind the end line.

It means both teams have to stand in the way that they should be facing each other.

Step 6:

Now, wait for the referee’s signal to officially start the game. The referee’s signal may be in the form of a counting or whistle.

Step 7:

As soon as the referee signals, any two or three players from each team should rush towards the center line to retrieve the balls. Remember, you should pick your own per-selected balls.

Note: You can cross the center line only during the first rush. After the first rush, you should not cross this line because it will cause a foul.

Step 8:

After retrieving your balls from the center line, you either start throwing them to your opponents to hit them, or you can pass the balls to your teammates and let them throw the balls to your opponents. You should not hold the ball for more than 10 seconds.

Step 9:

When you attempt to hit your balls to your opponents, they also do the same to hit you. You can save yourself from being touched by your opponent’s balls by means of ducking, diving, jumping, catching the balls, or even blocking them with your balls.

Step 10:

Your team’s aim is only to eliminate all the members of the opposing team. Therefore, your team has to be careful and strategic simultaneously.

Careful in the sense that you have to save yourself from being hit by your opponents’ balls, from going out of the court, crossing the center line after the first rush, or avoiding any other below-mentioned existing fouls.

While strategic in the sense that you have to eliminate your opponents by aiming perfectly at them, force them to trespass the boundaries, compel them to cross the center line, or make them succumb to any other faults.

Step 11:

As per rules, when a player from one team gets out, he can be revived in the game by sending an opponent player out of the court.

In simple words, one exit results in the entry of one player; an out player comes in when his opponent gets eliminated.

Step 12:

When your team succeeds in eliminating all the opposing players, you win the match.

6. Scoring System in Dodgeball

There is no concept of scoring points in Dodgeball. Conversely, this game depends on an elimination pattern.

Therefore, to win a match, you don’t need to grab points and outscore your opponents, but you have to outnumber them by means of elimination.

How would you do it?

You simply outnumber your opponents by not increasing your number but rather reducing your opponents’ quantity in a number of following ways:

  • Hitting your opponents by throwing balls at them.
  • Catching your opponents’ balls that they throw at you.
  • Making them go out of the bounds of the court.
  • Tempting them to cross the center line.
  • Confusing them to pick dead balls.
  • Saving yourselves from being touched by opponents’ balls.

Note: Important Points

  • If a team is not able to eliminate the players of the opponent team in 10 minutes (duration of the match), the team with more remaining players on the court wins the match.
  • In case both the teams have equal players on the court when the time completes, sudden death will be played to finalize the winner.
  • This round starts in the same way as a regular match.
  • After the start of the match, the first team to eliminate one opponent wins the match.

7. Rules For Substitution And Revival

A) Substitutions Rules

Each team has 2 to 4 substitutes waiting outside for their entry into the match. Each team can substitute players during a 1-minute time-out.

Substitution is made when a player gets injured or falls sick.

B) Revival of Players

Players are revived in the same sequence as they are eliminated.

When your team manages to eliminate one of your opponents, one out player of your team is revived.

One elimination results in one revival. This elimination and revival have to be made in sequence.

The player who is eliminated before all others get revived before others. Thus, the latest eliminated player comes in the end if revived.

When a player is to enter the court after his revival, he must tap or touch the wall of the court before actually making an entry in the court.

8. Fouls And Penalty

A) Crossing Boundaries

A player should remain inside the playing areas as long as the match continues. If you go out, it is a foul.

You cannot go out of the playing area in any situation; not take the balls either. If you attempt to cross the boundaries, you are eliminated.

Your body parts should not touch the outer areas of the court, be it a wall, surface, or any outsitting players.

If your body part comes in contact with anything present out of the court, you will be sent out.

A player should not cross the center line after the first rush. To cross the center line is a foul.

B) Stalling

A player from any team can hold three balls at once, usually when he remains alone on the court. However, he cannot stall those balls for more than 30 seconds.

If he holds three balls for more than 30 seconds, he is at fault. As per rule, a player cannot take a ball in his position for more than 10 seconds.

So, three balls will take 30 seconds, and the player has to throw them as soon as possible.

9. Top Ten Tips, Techniques & Strategies To Play Dodgeball

A player on the court who can throw and dodge decently is an X factor. Guys normally throw at the best guys on the opposite team first to get out their biggest threats.

What happens if all the players become equally challenging for the opposition?

Let’s learn how to become a tough player for your opposition.

1. Learn to throw

Every novice player starts off being “decent at dodging, but bad at throwing.” Practice makes perfect. Once a pro player said, “I used to throw 15 feet above the opponent’s heads – or I was throwing the ball straight into the ground 5 feet in front of me.

My couch made me toss the ball to him in the house, and I eventually started getting into a rhythm and being more accurate”.

2. Aim low

Aim for the lower half of an opponent’s body, in particular his toes. Chances are, he won’t catch the ball if he tries.

3. Pump Fake

If a guy isn’t diving to the ground or attempting to catch your ball, he is going to jump. Some guys are notorious jumpers or divers. Figure out their patterns. Are they always jumping over the ball?

Do they drop to the ground any time a ball comes near them? I’ve yet to meet a solid jumper and diver.

Once you’ve studied whether or not the guy is a jumper or a diver – pretend to throw the ball at a close distance.

The guy will wince and likely start to either jump or dive. Wait for it – the perfect opportunity to catch the guy off guard at the line when he does a little half jump, half wince.

4. Be Sneaky

Sneak up the sideline with a ball. Get as close to the outer lines of the court as possible and sneak your way up with a ball behind your back. If someone on the other team spots you, retreat or throw.

If they don’t see you – or notice that you’re actually in the game, now is your chance to throw after they have thrown their ball and have no defense.

It happens fairly often in games, and you can be cunning like ninjas on the sides of the court.

5. Look away

Don’t stare at the person you’re throwing the ball at on the other team. Take note of where clusters of people are.

Throw towards a group of two or more people while looking at the other people on the court. This takes practice – but will be rewarding if done correctly.

6. Get your Opponent at the Line

Immediately throw your ball at someone who is close to the line after he threw his ball. If a teammate isn’t defending for them – take advantage and throw your ball when they do not have defense and are unarmed.

7. One versus anything

If you can throw and dodge as a player – get in the zone. 1-on-1s are my favorite. I prefer being 1 on 3 or 4 and taking the other team out 1 by 1 personally.

People cheer for you, and honestly, it makes you feel damn good. If you can play at a brisk pace, let your opponent wear himself out.

Wait for a mistake. Wait for him to be vulnerable without a ball. Wait for him to turn his back or look away for one second. Wait for him to be reaching down for another ball.

Wait for him to let down his guard because he is thinking, “it’s just a novice,” and then – snipe him in the toes with the ball when he least expects it. Victory!

8. Dress for Dodgeball

Wearing baggy clothes can affect your playing. If your shirt gets hit but not your body – you’re still out. Try to wear a comfortable dress that does not distract your mind.

9. Play with your Team

If you can’t throw and can’t really catch – the next best thing is to throw with your teammates. Go to the line with someone on your team and defend them if they get thrown at.

Throw your ball towards the same area as your teammate.

Suggest a site – just say left or right, and the other person will understand. Throw at the same time.

It’s harder for one person to dive from two balls, and it’s a lot harder for people huddling in a corner to avoid two balls when they are standing so close to each other.

Listen to your teammates and communicate with them.

10. Catch the Ball

Figure out a comfortable way to catch the ball and have a friend throw it over and over to practice. If you are a beginner and you can throw, dodge, and catch well – you’re going to be a huge asset to your team, and they know it.

Other variants/ Types of Dodgeball

The dodgeball game has certain variations, as discussed below with details

1. Primary School Dodgeball

This is a variant of Dodgeball that is played at the school level. As it is mentioned above that its rules are volatile, and each institution or organization can modify them.

However, the basic rules are the same such as; eliminating the opponents by hitting them, catching their balls, and not crossing the limits of the playing area.

In the minor games, players choose a circle as the playing area. They go for the toss first. The winner can either run or throw the balls.

The running team has to stand in the circle, while the throwing team stands out of the circle.

The throwing team has two balls to throw at opponents. Whosoever is hit by the ball has to go out of the circle.

2. Ultimate Dodgeball

This is another variant of Dodgeball. This game follows the rules:

This is played with 5 balls. Each team has 5 players on the field. All the players have to be above 16 years of age.

Matches are based on 3 to 5 games. The winner has to win 2 out of 3 games or 3 out of 5 games.

Each game lasts for 3 minutes. Players are eliminated or revived in the same manner as discussed above.

A team wins after the elimination of all the opposing players. If the match remains unfinished, the sudden-death rule is applied.

3. Water Dodgeball

This variant of the game has the same rules. What makes it different is the balls that are used.

In water dodgeball, small balloons filled with water are used. These balls make this game super fun.

4. Extreme Dodgeball

This variant follows similar rules but has less number of players and balls.

5. Scatter Dodgeball

This variant is quite different. In this game, two players are required. These two players stand on the court with one ball, one dice, and multicolored 12 rubber bands worn on their arms.

The dice decide the thrower. The thrower has to run behind the runner to hit him, while the runner has to save himself from being hit by either diving, jumping, or catching the ball.

The winner of the point gets a rubber band from his opponent. The one with maximum rubber bands in his possession, after the time of the match, gets over, wins the match.

6. Jailbreak Dodgeball

This variant combines Dodgeball and Volleyball. It can be played with as fewer as 4 players and as many as 20 players. It starts with the whistle of the referee.

The first whistle allows the players to rush to retrieve the ball from the center line and the second whistle allows them to throw the balls.

A player has to go out or go to jail (as this game pronounces) if he is hit by his opponent’s ball; his ball is caught by his opponent.

The players in the jail are revived in the same way as discussed above.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions

We have tried to cover each and every question or query that you might have in your mind regarding Dodgeball rules. Despite that, you are encouraged to ask further questions, if any.

1. What is Dodgeball?

Is it a Sport or a Film? It is both; a game and a film based on the name of this game.

2. Is dodgeball an indoor or outdoor game?

This is predominately an indoor game. However, it can be played outdoor as well.

3. Where was dodgeball invented?

There is no satisfactory answer to this question. Some scholars believe that this game emerged in Africa, some claim that it was started by Asian countries, and some even mention that this game is the product of Mesoamerica.

4. What is intramural dodgeball?

It is sometimes called an intramural sport. An intramural sport is confined to one school, college, or university. The players or teams of one institution compete with each other.

5. Is blocking allowed in dodgeball?

Yes, you can block an oncoming ball thrown by your opponent, but there is a condition.

You can only block your opponent’s ball with your own ball. If your opponent’s ball touches your body or even your finger, you are out.

6. What is a dead ball?

A ball becomes dead when it crosses the boundaries of the court when it touches the walls of the court, when a player holds it for more than 10 seconds, when the ball touches a player or when it doesn’t touch your opponent and misses him.

7. What happens if I walk in with the dead ball in my hands?

If you walk in with the dead ball, you will be eliminated. Holding a dead ball is against the rules.

8. What is the procedure to reenter the court?

Every player has to reenter the court after touching or tapping the wall of court. An out player is revived when his teammates score a point and eliminate any of the opponent players.

9. What happens if the ball hits two opponent players in one throw?

As per rule, only the first player, who has been hit by the ball, has to go out of the court.

While the other player has to remain on the court.

10. Can I drop the catch?

If you drop the catch, you have to go out of the court. When a ball comes to you, it’s you who have to catch it or block it.

In case you drop the catch, but your adjacent teammate catches it, you still have to go out of the court.

11. Can I catch the ball on the second attempt?

Yes, you can catch it in the second attempt unless the ball touches any other player or thing than you.

If the ball touches walls or your teammates after touching you, you can catch it then. It becomes a dead ball.

12. What happens if I drop a catch?

You have to go out if you drop a catch. As per rule, if a ball touches you, you have to go out. So, dropping the ball is the same as you have been touched by the ball.

13. Can I take multiple balls in one attempt?

Yes, you can take multiple balls that belong to you, and even you can pass your balls to your teammates.

14. How many players are on a dodgeball team?

There are 6 to 10 players in the dodgeball game.

Whereas only 6 players can participate in a match, and the rest have to wait outside of the court as substitutes. Interestingly, there have to be 2 female players among 6 players on the court, on each side.

15. What happens if you catch a ball in dodgeball?

If you catch your opponent’s ball (that is aimed at you), your opponent has to go out of the court.


Dodgeball is a team game, and each side should have at least six players to compete. It needs a rectangular intramural court and six rubber or foamed balls having two different colors for playing the game.

The game of Dodgeball revolves around picking, throwing, hitting, catching, and blocking the balls on the court.

The aim of doing so is to eliminate all the players of the opposing team and thereby win the match.

To win a match, it’s utterly important to eliminate your opponents by means of throwing balls at them, catching their incoming balls, forcing them to trespass the playing area or succumbing to any other fouls.